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The Hood Magazine

Car Seats and Winter Coats can be a Dangerous Combo

Nov 10, 2014 09:14AM ● By Hood Magazine
By Sanford Health

Cold weather is just around the corner. Soon it will be time to bundle your child up to stay warm despite the frigid temperatures. Keeping your child warm is necessary but a bulky coat and a car seat is a dangerous combination. So what is a parent to do? 

As a general rule, winter coats should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat. A bulky coat under a child seat harness can result in the harness being too loose to be effective in a crash. This puts your precious cargo at risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Here is a simple way to check if your child's coat is too big to wear when in a car seat: 

  1. Put the coat on your child, sit your child in the child seat and fasten the harness. 
  2. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any of the harness webbing with your thumb and forefinger at the shoulder position. 
  3. Without loosening the harness, remove your child from the child seat. 
  4. Take the coat off, and put your child back in the child seat and buckle the harness straps. 
  5. Pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger again. If you can pinch extra webbing, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness. 

Now what? If you find that the coat cannot be safely worn under the harness, here are some ideas to keep your child safe and warm in his/her child seat. 

  • After securing your child in his/her child seat, turn the coat around and put it on backward with your child's arms through the arm holes and the back of the coat acting like a blanket 
  • Lay a blanket over your child to keep him/her warm.  
A fleece coat is really all your traveler needs. Save the big fluffy coat for outside play time and build Frosty the Snowman. 

If you have any questions or concerns about installing your child's car seat, or insuring your child is secured properly, Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians are able to help at the Sanford Children's Safety Center. Call 333-0663 to schedule an appointment. 

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